The pressure to become more eco-friendly and “go green” has been stressed in almost every industry over the past 20 years. Trucking has especially taken the brunt of the pressure, as the industry accounts for over 50% of NOx emissions in the U.S. The EPA estimates that as freight activity increases across the world, the impact that semi-trucks have on the environment will grow as well.
That’s not to say that all is lost. Many larger trucking companies are moving towards sustainability in a number of different ways. These include the widespread use of electric vehicles and alternative fuel sources aside from gasoline. But as a trucker, are there any ways you can help lessen your carbon footprint? Whether you’re a company driver or an owner operator, here are 5 ways you can practice eco-friendly trucking.
1. Less Idling
When it comes to eco-friendly trucking, less is always more. The biggest way to cut down on your emissions while driving is to stop idling. Aside from wasting fuel and money, you’re also not doing the environment any favors by keeping your truck running while parked. Some states even have laws against idling that can lead to hefty fines. But, it’s understandable why some drivers idle. They may need to run the A/C or heat while parked at a stop. The good news is that having an APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) installed gives drivers the best of both worlds by letting them run their HVAC while not burning any unnecessary fuel.
2. Rolling Resistance Tires
The right tires go a long way in making your truck more fuel efficient and eco-friendly. Rolling resistance is what makes the big difference when it comes to tires. Investing in low-rolling resistance tires can save you up to 2% in fuel consumption per year. While that might not sound like a lot, when you add up how much fuel a truck uses in a year, it’s easy to see that it’s an investment worth making.
3. Side Skirts
Aside from tires, aerodynamic devices like trailer side skirts can reduce fuel consumption as well. Side skirts are long pieces of material (usually rubber or aluminum) that are installed between the front and back tires of a trailer. Their purpose of a side skirt is to reduce wind resistance and drag that wastes fuel, making trucks more eco-friendly and fuel efficient. A 2012 study by the SAE found that trucks that have side skirts saved up to 5% on fuel economy per year.
The value of regular truck maintenance can’t be overstated, especially if you’re trying to become more eco friendly on the road. Just like with rolling resistance tires and side skirts, the main goal here is to limit your fuel consumption. It’s been shown that regular maintenance on engines, air compressors, fuel filters, electrical systems, and A/C can increase a truck’s fuel economy up to 10%.
While this tip doesn’t just pertain to truck drivers, it’s still an important way to become more eco-friendly. While on the road, practice organizing your trash into what’s recyclable and what’s not, then hold on to it until you get to somewhere that recycles, like a truck stop or gas station.
You can also meal prep with reusable containers at home before you hit the road. Aside from cutting down on the amount of plastic you’re using, you’ll be saving money as well. It’s a simple tip, but every little bit makes a big difference when it comes to being eco-friendly.